Simon Phillips

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Simon Phillips
Phillips in Toronto in 2007
Background information
Born (1957-02-06) 6 February 1957 (age 57)
London, England
Genres Rock, hard rock, heavy metal, jazz fusion, jazz
Occupations Musician
Instruments Drums, percussion, keyboards
Years active 1969–present
Associated acts 801, Phil Manzanera, Toto, The Who, Derek Sherinian, David Coverdale, Judas Priest, Far Corporation, RMS, Gary Moore, Michael Schenker Group, Ph.D., Doves of Fire, Gordon Giltrap, PSP, Jeff Beck, Mike Rutherford, Jon Anderson, Tears for Fears, Mike Oldfield, David Gilmour

Simon Phillips (born 6 February 1957) is an English jazz, pop and rock drummer[1] and producer, best known as the former drummer for Toto.

He is also a prolific session drummer, and has played for The Who, Judas Priest, Tears for Fears, Mike Oldfield, and Gary Moore, among others.


Phillips began to play professionally at the age of twelve in his father's (Sid Phillips) Dixieland band for four years. He was then offered the chance to play in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. He quickly became a sought-after session player and in 1992, he released two instructional videos displaying some of his best work.

Phillips found an early prominence as the drummer on the 1976 LP 801 Live with Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno.[2] He replaced Judas Priest drummer Alan Moore on the band's Sin After Sin album (1977) and went on to record Michael Schenker's 1980 debut album The Michael Schenker Group.

Phillips has performed and recorded with a wide array of musicians including Big Jim Sullivan, Pete Townshend, Big Country, Toto, Steve Lukather and Los Lobotomys, Jeff Beck, Whitesnake, Jack Bruce, Brian Eno, Duncan Browne, Toyah, Mike Oldfield, Jon Anderson, Bonnie Tyler, Trevor Rabin, Gary Moore, 10cc, Mick Jagger, Ph.D., Joe Satriani, Russ Ballard, Mike Rutherford, Phil Manzanera, John Wetton, flamenco guitarist Juan Martin, Asia, Stanley Clarke, Jimmy Earl, Derek Sherinian, Nik Kershaw, Gordon Giltrap, Camel, Jordan Rudess and Tears For Fears.

He was the drummer for The Who in their 1989 American reunion tour, and appeared on solo recordings by band members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend.

Phillips has played on, co-produced, and mixed five Derek Sherinian solo records - Inertia (2001), Black Utopia (2003), Mythology (2004), Blood of the Snake (2006), and Oceana (2011). He also co-produced and mixed two albums by Mike Oldfield. Phillips also appeared with Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood and others in the video for the 1983 A.R.M.S. concert benefit for Ronnie Lane. In the early 1980s, Phillips formed part of RMS with fellow session musicians, Mo Foster and Ray Russell.

He has released four studio albums of varying styles.

In 2006, Phillips released a DVD with his jazz band, Vantage Point, called Resolution with writer and pianist Jeff Babko, trumpeter Walt Fowler, saxophonist Brandon Fields and bassist Alphonso Johnson.


In 1992, Simon was asked to fill in for Jeff Porcaro after Porcaro died during rehearsals for the upcoming tour to promote Toto's Kingdom of Desire album. Steve Lukather stated that he would only go on tour so shortly after Porcaro died if Toto could get Simon to play the tour, so he was the first and only drummer that the band contacted to replace Porcaro. After the 1992/93 tour Simon was asked to join Toto as a permanent member.

Nicknamed "Si-Phi" or "Si" by his bandmates in Toto, Simon is noted to be the group's 'technical' guru; handling the engineering duties on both the 2002 Through the Looking Glass and 2006 Falling In Between albums. He also engineered the 1999 Livefields album, and the Live in Amsterdam DVD from 2003.

After the decision (15 July 2008) "to go their separate ways and begin new chapters in their lives", on 27 February 2010 former members of Toto announced on official band's website a reunion for a brief 2010 summer tour in Europe to honor their brother Mike Porcaro who is living with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). They also have scheduled more dates for a tour in 2011, ended up with the DVD performance in Villafranca Di Verona. Phillips is going to be touring with Toto in 2012 and 2013. After the last attempts at releasing a new DVD were all shelved the band recorded another concert aimed to be released on DVD in Lodz, Poland.

As of January 26, 2014, Phillips has departed from Toto to focus on his solo career. He is replaced by Keith Carlock.

Recent projects[edit]

In 2009, Phillips joined with keyboardist Philippe Saisse and bassist Pino Palladino in forming an instrumental jazz/funk rock trio: Phillips Saisse Palladino or PSP, who toured in Europe in 2009 through 2010, spotlighting the talents of each performer in the songs chosen for their set list. Phillips also performed on Joe Satriani's album Super Colossal, appearing on multiple tracks. Phillips appears in Alan Parsons' Art & Science of Sound Recording educational video series, as well as the program's single "All Our Yesterdays". He played in the Michael Schenker Group album In the Midst of Beauty and took part to the band's 30th Anniversary world tour in 2010. Phillips is featured on Hiromi Uehara's 2011 album, Voice.

Phillips playing in PSP in Rome, 2009

Selected Discography[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

  • Protocol (1988)
  • Force Majeure (1992)
  • Symbiosis (1995)
  • Another Lifetime (1997)
  • Out of the Blue (1999)
  • Vantage Point (2000)
  • Protocol II (2013)


Judas Priest[edit]

Duncan Browne[edit]

  • The Wild Places (1977)
  • Streets of Fire (1979)

Phil Manzanera[edit]

Jeff Beck[edit]


Mike Rutherford[edit]

Michael Schenker Group[edit]


Jon Anderson[edit]

Tears for Fears[edit]


Mike Oldfield[edit]

Russ Ballard[edit]

  • Russ Ballard (1984)

David Gilmour[edit]

  • Live at the Royal Albert Hall London (Colombian Volcano Concert) (1986)

The Who[edit]

Big Country[edit]



Derek Sherinian[edit]

Trilok Gurtu & NDR Bigband[edit]

Hiromi Uehara[edit]

Drum equipment[edit]

  • ProMark 707 "Simon Phillips" Signature Drum Sticks

All drums are TAMA Bubinga Elite

  • 2 15"x 24" Bass Drum w/Base Mount (Mounted in special position)
  • 14"x 20" Gong Bass Drum
  • 14"x 18" Floor Tom
  • 13"x 16" Floor Tom
  • 12"x 15" Floor Tom
  • 11"x 14" Tom Tom
  • 10"x 13" Tom Tom
  • 9"x 12" Tom Tom
  • 7"x 10" Tom Tom
  • MRM12S mount (for "Pageant")
  • Octoban 443mm
  • Octoban 472mm
  • Octoban 536mm
  • Octoban 600mm
  • Iron Cobra Hi-hat Stand w/o legs^
  • Hi-hat Attachment
  • Double Tom Holder
  • Special Hardware for Octoban SD & Cymbal^
  • Special Hardware for Gong Bass^
  • SP164HAS

Snare Drums

  • Tama "Gladiator"(5.5x14 1mm bronze black nickel plated)
  • Tama "Monarch"(6.5x14 3 ply maple/3 ply bubinga/2 ply maple)
  • Tama "Pageant"(5x12 7ply maple) Signature Wooden Snare Drum


  • Zildjian A 14" Custom Hi-hats
  • Zildjian 10" Special Recording Hi-hats (discontinued)
  • Zildjian A 19" Custom Crash}
  • Zildjian A 18" Custom Crash} These have temporarily been replaced with Zildjian prototypes(see below)
  • Zildjian A 17" Custom Crash}
  • Zildjian A 22" Oriental China "Trash" or swishknocker (depends)
  • Zildjian A 20" Oriental Classic China
  • Zildjian A Custom 22" Ride
  • Zildjian A Custom 12" Splash
  • Zildjian Proto Type Sound Lab 19"
  • Zildjian Proto Type Sound Lab 18"
  • Zildjian Proto Type Sound Lab 17"
  • Zildjian Proto Type Sound Lab 14"
  • Plywood Custom Drum Plinth

Simon Phillips Anniversary Snare Drum SP1465HA

  • Shell Material Maple2/Bub3/Maple2ply w/SFR (same shell)
  • Shell Size 6.5x14"
  • Shell Finish Simon Phillips Anniversary finish (SPA)
  • Head (Batter) REMO Ambassador Coated
  • Head (Bottom) REMO Ambassador Snare Side
  • Lug MSL35HN
  • Hoop Customized Triple Flanged Hoop (8 tension)
  • Strainer/But MUS80AH/MUS80BH
  • Snappy Snare MS20S-S

+ certification card

  • Remo Clear Ambassador drum heads (toms, bass, and octobans)
  • Remo Coated Ambassador drum heads (snares)
  • Remo Timpani drum head (Gong Bass)

^This is a custom piece of equipment.


External links[edit]